She has done it again!
Apart from being the first woman dentist and the Speaker for the country’s august house, Hon. Dr Jiko Luveni is one of only three women alongside the Princess of Wales, the late Lady Diana Spencer and New Zealand Paediatric Dental Specialist, Professor Bernadette Drummond, to have been conferred the honorary fellowship award from the Council of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.
While it may have come as a surprise, the Speaker said she was honoured to be a recipient alongside Lady Diana.
“I can’t believe this. This is a great honour for me and I owe it to the current serving dentists,” she said.
“Dentistry was the foundation of my career path and I hold it dear to my heart. When I started my career, I took dental health out of the clinic.
“At that time in the 1970s, dental health awareness was most needed as a lot of people didn’t take good care of their teeth. There was more emphasis needed on tooth decay prevention so I made it my business to include dental care in the public health service.
“Whenever the public health team reach out to the communities, I also tagged along to create awareness about dentistry.”
For the love of dentistry, Hon. Dr Luveni added she facilitated the oral health survey in 1985 in a bid to keep records of dental health.
“I am thankful that the Dental Department is continuing with this data record initiative. I also initiated the National Tooth-brushing Competition and this was sponsored by Colgate. All this initiatives, among others, were contributing factors to my passion towards dentistry.
“Even though I switched my career path, it didn’t change the way I felt about dentistry as it’s a part of me. This award has brought dentistry yet again to the limelight and I’m happy to continue this legacy.”
The award, Hon. Dr Luveni said would now be a motivating and inspiring factor to present and aspiring dentist.
“I would also like to encourage them (dentists and students) to always make use of every career opportunities coming their way for the purpose of further developing dentistry.”
In a congratulatory letter, the council representative Professor Geoffrey Borlase said it was most appropriate that the dental profession recognised Hon. Dr Luveni with the highest accolade.
“The Madam Speaker deserves this award and surely has earned recognition at the highest level for her service to the dental profession,” Prof.Borlase said.